A Report detailing information on the topic of Elearning

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E-learning is a general term that relates to all training and education that is delivered with the assistance of new technologies. The delivery of E-learning can be done by using the Internet or shared files on a network.  It gives any learner the freedom and flexibility to learn anytime and anywhere. In addition, it provides the learners with an ability to research a wide range of subjects at any level.

Stockley defined the E-learning as" E-learning involves the use of a computer or electronic device (e.g. a mobile phone) in some way to provide training, educational or learning material". (Derek Stockley, 2003).

Benefits of E-learning:

E-learning systems create an effective learning environment that can be integrated with the traditional educational environment. They offer many advantages and benefits for learners, instructors and educational administrators. The benefits of E-learning can be summarized as follows:

Overcoming the limitations of space and time in the educational process where learners can access educational content at any time and for anywhere.

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Taking into account the individual differences between learners and enable them to complete the activities of educational in different environments.

Creating an environment for the immediate interaction between learners and between them and the instructors on the other hand through the means and tools of electronic communication.

Encouraging learners self-learning abilities and enhance their creative capacities.

Transforming the role of the instructors to be a facilitator in the educational process.

Providing equal opportunities for all the learners of in the educational process and get the attention of the instructors.

Providing easy access to the instructors, even outside the official working hours through learning tools.

Using a variety of methods and a different, more accurate and fair in evaluating the performance of learners.

Building a huge database and evolving scientific material and tests for each course, which contributes to its development and increase the effectiveness of teaching, and participation among instructors.

E-learning system:

An interactive E-learning system should facilitate the collaboration between the instructors and learners in addition to the learning materials. Hence, providing a complete E-learning system requires many components and building blocks in order to provide the required functionality. These components are:

Infrastructure: The learning environment should be able to absorb the flow of information resulting from the use of services and applications of information and communication technology in the E-learning system.

Learning portal: Is the primary interface for E-learning, which meets the instructors and learners, administration and managing activities of learning and teaching in terms of lessons education, training, and exercises.

E-content: is one of the most important pillars of E-learning systems,

E-content is provided in interactive, structured, comprehensive on the network or the internet where it is accessed at any time and any place.

Smart schools and classrooms: The aim of the smart schools and classrooms is to provide means of better education by using advanced methods of teaching to improve the learner's skills. It aims also to improve teaching skills and developing new methods of explanation to make lessons more effective and attractive. The smart school project consists of the following :

Smart- board

Wireless school

One-to-one computer

Awareness and culture change

Mentioned above, the E-content is the most important pillars of E-learning. The

E-content is a combination of Learning Objects, so in the rest of this chapter the concentration will be on the E-content and the models that are used to develop the Learning Objects (E-learning Application Infrastructure, Geoff Collier, 2002).

Electronic Content:

The E-content is "collection of sharable interactive Learning Objects that are developed using multimedia technologies and can form a certain curricula that can be tracked by an LMS or utilized offline" ( Norris and others, 2003).

E-content will also enable learners and instructors to:

Interactively access and retrieve reference material.

Reduce learning time and increase knowledge retention rates.

Effectively integrate information access into routine education processes.

Reduce resource requirements necessary to maintain reference material.

Build national repository of Learning Objects.

Enhance educational system.

Develop teaching methodology and techniques.

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The E-content is a collection of related Learning Objects where these LO's are stored in a shared repository. Online courses are created from these repository after that the Learning Content Management System (LCMS) integrates the LO's into a course, then publish the course via LMS system. See figure (1):

Figure :Learning object management system

Learning Objects

A Learning Object is a resource, usually digital and web-based, that can be used and re-used to support learning. Learning Objects offer a new conceptualization of the learning process. Rather than the traditional "several hour chunk", they provide smaller, self-contained, re-usable units of learning (Beck & Robert J, 2009). Learning Objects are defined as "interactive of the web-based tools which support the learning process by using the enhancing methods, amplifying, and guiding the cognitive processes of learners". This definition was based on aggregate of previous definitions (Agostinho, Bennett, Lockyer & Harper, 2004 In addition,; Butson, 2003; McGreal, 2004; Parrish, 2004; Wiley, et al. 2004).

Developing Learning Objects Models

This section introduces a literature survey of designing and developing LO's, focusing on 3 different angles namely Models, design aspect and storyboarding. There are different models for developing LO's depending on how to look at the development process. A model means "the theoretical construct or mental imagination which helps the person to understand something that cannot easily be observed or experienced in a direct way".

This dissertation shows three types of models that are used when developing the Learning Objects. The first Model is ADDIE, this model consists of five steps: the Analysis, Design ,Development, Implementation and Evaluation ( Dick & Carey, 1996 ). The second Model is ARCS Model, this model is made from four components Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction (John Keller, 1996 ). Design Based Research (DBR) is the third Model, this model is a combination of learning objects and learning designs, It is a blend of empirical educational research with the theory-driven design of learning environments.

2.6.1.1 ADDIE Model

ADDIE Model is a comprehensive term for the five parts of the instructional design model which consist of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of the model. Every step has a special outcome which feeds into the next step in the sequence as shown in figure (2).

Figure : ADDIE Model (leanlearning.wordpress.com)

Analysis stage

Analysis stage is is Concept which involves analysing the needs and the planning of the project. In this stage the instructional design focuses on learning problems, course aims and objectives, existing knowledge of the learners and learners characteristics. Also the instructional design studies the learning environment, the timeline for the project, and the delivery options.

Design stage

The second stage is Design which is specifying the structure and the style of the software program. The instructional designer and the subject expert specify the detailed storyboards which is a tool used by the instructional design to imagine the who to present the educational unit consisting of comic-strip-like drawings of individual shots or sequences, with descriptions written for each drawing or frame.

Also the instructional design specify the graphic design, user-interface and the course content based on the learning objectives. The instructional design document should be produced at the end of this stage.

Development stage

The third stage is Development stage which is assembling all the elements to produce the educational software program. In this stage the plan is put into action, The instructional design builds the course strategy according to the design stage to produce a model. The storyboards and graphics should be designed also.

Implementation stage

Every model should be implemented to be a specific. A procedure for training the learner and instructor is developed. Materials are delivered or distributed to the learners group. After delivery, the effectiveness of the training materials is determined

Evaluation stage

The evaluation stage consists of two parts: the first part is a formative part, in this part the evaluation will cover each stage of the ADDIE process. The second part is a Summative part, in this part the evaluation consists of tests that measure the course quality and feedback from the users which were identified.

2.6.1.2 ARCS Model

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ARCS Model is defined as "a problem solving approach to design the motivational aspects of learning environments to stimulate and sustain students' motivation to learn" (Keller, 1983). ARCS is a Model consist of four major terms: Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction see figure (3):

Figure : ARCS Model (Keller, Development and use of the ARCS model of instructional design, 1987)

Gain the learners Attention:

John Keller suggested many elements when designing E-content for getting the learners' attention these elements are:

Humor:

It is the method of maintaining the interest by using a small amount of humor, it is important to realize that it may lead to a negative impact which it can be used in an excessive way.

Using the Specific examples:

It is the use of story, or biography or visual stimuli and it is the most interesting issues for learners.

The Variability:

It is recommended to reinforce the learning materials get learners' individual differences in learning styles and to use a variety of methods when presenting the material. It is noticeable that presenting these materials is one of the major elements of getting the attraction such as short lectures, use of videos, mini-discussion groups.

The Conflict way:

It is a devil's approach in which statements are posed which go against a learner's past experiences.

Relevance

It is the way which establishes the relevance in order to increase a learner's motivation. There are ways which enable us to do this by using examples or concrete language with which the learners are familiar. Six major strategies described by Keller include:

Needs Matching:

The instructor takes the advantage of the dynamics of achievement, risk taking, power, and affiliation.

The Experience:

The instructor should instruct the learners on how the new learning will used and how it will improve their skills. We best learn by building upon our preset knowledge or skills.

Future Usefulness:

The instructor should underlines what will the new learning do for me tomorrow as instructor and learner?

The Modeling:

The instructor should tell the learners directly what he want them to do , and he should also mention what is the other strategies including guest speakers, videos.

The Choices:

The instructor should give the opportunity for learners to use a different methods to pursue their work or allowing a choice in how they organize it.

Confidence

This issue helps the students to understand their likelihood for success.

Provide objectives and prerequisites:

It helps students to estimate the probability of success by presenting performance requirements and evaluation criteria. Ensure the learners are aware of performance requirements and evaluative criteria. Allow for success that is meaningful.

Grow the Learners:

Allow for small steps of growth during the learning process.

Learner Control:

The learners should feel a kind of control over their learning and assessment. They should believe that their success is a direct result of the amount of effort they have put forth.

The feedback:

The instructor should provide away that support learners and allows them to give their feedback.

Satisfaction

Learning must be rewarding or satisfying in some way, whether it is from a sense of achievement, praise from a higher-up, or mere entertainment. Make the learner feel as though the skill is useful or beneficial by providing opportunities to use newly acquired knowledge in a real setting.

The reinforcement of feedback should be given, when learners appreciate the results, they will be motivated to learn and get more of knowledge. For sure the satisfaction is based upon motivation, which can be intrinsic or extrinsic. (Keller and others, 1983, Motivational design of instruction).

2.6.1.3 Design Based Research (DBR) Model

DBR Model is an attempt to bridge theory and practice in education and represented as a set of techniques which balances the positivist and interpretive paradigms. It is a blend of empirical educational research with the theory-driven design of learning environments. DBR methods targeted to uncover the relationships between educational theory, designed artifact, and practice. Design based research (DRB) is an important methodology for understanding how, when, and why educational innovations work in practice. This Model was developed by A. Brown, A. Collins and others. The key terms of this Model are: design experiments, iterative, interventionist, theory-building, theory-driven (DBR).

During the last decades, it is clear that instructors have been trying to narrow the path between research and practice. But the important part of the challenge lies in their research that is detached from practice "may not account for the influence of contexts, the emergent and complex nature of outcomes, and the incompleteness of knowledge about which factors are relevant for prediction" (DBRC, 2003).

According to Collins and others in 2004, Design-based Research, which was known as "design experiments", intends to address several needs and issues central to the research of learning, including the following, see figure (4):

The need for these methods to the research of learning phenomena in real world situation which is more important than the laboratory experiments

The need to mention theoretical questions about the nature of learning in context.

The need to go beyond narrow measures of learning.

The need to derive research findings from formative evaluation.

There are more of the specifications of design-based research experiments such as:

Dealing with the reflective inquiry to test and refine innovative learning environments.

Focusing on the complex problems in real, authentic contexts in collaboration with practitioners.

Applying integrating known and hypothetical design principles to render plausible solutions.

Intertwined goals of (1) designing learning environments and (2) developing theories of learning.

Research on designs that must lead to sharable theories that help communicate relevant implications to practitioners and other educational designers.

Development of such accounts that relies on methods which can document and connect processes of enactment to outcomes of interest.

Figure : DBR Model cycle( Hoadley, Methodological alignment in design-based research. 2004)

This section reviewed three types of Model used to develop a Learning Objects; the next chapter will define the human computer interface and introduce the critical factors of an interactive HCI.